Stransham-Ford affidavit cites outdated first draft SALRC Bill


The Stransham-Ford Affidavit cites and extensively quotes in a supporting manner (paragraph 11) the ‘Draft Bill on the Rights of the Terminally Ill’ in SALRC Project 86.

* This was a first draft proposal by the SALRC in 1997, at the lobbying and instigation of the pro-euthanasia lobby (South Africa Voluntary Euthanasia Society (SAVES)) which the South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) research team itself revised with a new proposal in 1998, which they released to the public in 1999 called the ‘End of Life Decisions Bill’.
– The 1999 End of Life Decisions Bill differs in many respects from this first draft proposal.

* The proposals met with strong opposition from numerous interested parties including the South African Medical Association.

* They were finally rejected by the Department of Justice in 2004.

* The applicant states in paragraph 42-45 of his affidavit that he attempted to comply with the SALRC draft legislation, claims that it had the support of the SALRC and that he is unaware why it has not been taken up by parliament.

* This is incorrect, since the SALRC specifically rejected this first draft proposal and put forward an alternative second draft proposal of which the applicant is apparently unaware.

* Dignity SA have also erroneously claimed in the media that this was ‘Mandelas bill’, an apparent attempt to make mileage on the popularity of this man. In fact Mandela never expressed any support for the bill, it never went to parliament, it was never supported by his political party or any official in his government and he probably never even read it. The only connection was that his presidency overlapped with this SALRC research proposal.

* The SALRC is a research body that frequently proposes speculative and controversial legislation that are not adopted and are simply the opinions of the researchers. They have no legal status and are simply submitted to the Department of Justice for consideration. This was simply one of numerous such proposals. The euthanasia lobby (SAVES) has admitted that this proposal was developed at their instigation.
– Any special interest group can motivate the SALRC to research their proposal, but this does not give it legal status. Further SALRC proposals are often the opinions only of two or three researchers within that organisation.
– The project 86 referred in the Stransham-Ford affidavit only had the status of a ‘Discussion document’ put out by the Law Commission.

* It is unreasonable for the court to have to entertain a proposal and force into law, which in fact nobody including the original SALRC resarch team is supporting.
– Not the SALRC research team.
– Not the public interested parties.
– Not the Department of Justice.
– Not the SA Medical Association.

* The attorneys of Dignity SA simply have not properly prepared their argument for this case and this is an additional reason to reject their claim of urgency. Any proposal put before the court needs to be based on accurate facts with this is not.

* It would be reckless and a usurpation of powers the legislature for any court to adopt this proposal, which has been rejected after due constitutional state process of consideration and to force it into law.

* Even if the court was to entertain the final SALRC proposal, it would also need to entertain the very strong objecting submissions that were submitted by numerous organisations against the SALRC proposals both in 1997 and 1999.

Philip Rosenthal